“Rocking Pneumonia”

Rocking Pneumonia

By Mort Laitner
I stood in the Bank of America line, reading swine flu updates on my Blackberry. A tired-looking customer leaned against the guardrail in front of me. His face glowed a feverish red. I jumped as his ringtone blared, “Roll over Beethoven.” That ‘56 Chuck Berry classic was a favorite of John, Paul, George and me. Rolling Stone said the song was “the ultimate rock and roll call to arms, declaring a new era.”

How did the words go? Something about, “You know my temperature is risin’…I got the rockin pneumonia. I need a shot of rhythm and blues.”

What did I just read on CDC web site? The H1N1 symptoms are: Fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.

As Mr. Cell phone snapped shut his phone, he coughed and sneezed into the open air. I felt his spray and backed away. He contaminated everyone standing in the bank line. He never thought about covering his mouth.

I stared squarely in his eyes and sang, “It’s early in the mornin I’m a givin you the warnin, don’t you sneeze on my blue suede shoes. Move over Beethoven’ I ain’t getting no shot of flu from you!”

He smiled and apologized, “I’m sorry, I’m so sick I can’t even think straight. I’ve been running to the bathroom—-both ends if you know what I mean.”

Social distancing myself from Mr. Cell phone I inquired, “When was the last time you visited Mexico?”

He whispered, “Last week.”

I gasped, “When?”

“Five days ago to be exact.”

I queried, “Have you been to the doctor?”

“Not yet. I’m planning on going later today. I wanted to get some funds so I could pay the physician.”

I proceeded out of queue walking toward the bank’s exit. I glanced back at Mr. Cell phone and proclaimed, “Beethoven, tell your family doctor to test you for the swine flu. Love your ringtone.”

As I got in the car, I turned on the AC, squirted some antibacterial into my palms and vigorously washed my hands. As I scrubbed, I promised myself, “Next time I go to Bank of America I’m going to use the drive thru.”



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